Is 'photo folding' altered art?

Nancy Behan
(Wells, Maine, United States of America)

I have started to 'photo fold', which is an offshoot of iris folding. Four or five greeting cards are necessary to create one card showing the entire image, but each card is folded back to give a three-dimensional effect. My question is: do you think that this could be considered as altered art?

We are of course familiar with iris folding (presumably so-called because the finished product looks something like the iris of an eye), but haven't come across this particular variation before.

Whilst there may well be that element of re-using previously used materials (for example, used greetings cards) in this craft, we don't believe that it can be considered as altered art, but perhaps rather as a branch of card-making.

As we suggest in our article on altered art, we believe that most people would understand this expression to mean the transformation or 'alteration' of ordinary, everyday objects into artistic pieces using, for example, rubber stamps, fabric, paper, paint and fibres. What you have described doesn't really seem to fit this definition.

Having said that, you may often see references to something like an 'altered canvas', which appears to have been created from scratch, and not from any previously existing object or piece of work.

Although this isn't strictly implied by our definition, much of what many people think of as 'altered art' seems to have a certain look or style that could perhaps be described as vintage, antique or distressed. When you see a piece of artwork described as 'altered' that doesn't really seem to fit the definition, it probably means that it has that old, worn and faded look that we often associate with this particular genre.

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